Drivers explain why they chose to race in Jeddah

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Drivers explain why they chose to race in Jeddah

Formula 1

Drivers explain why they chose to race in Jeddah


Formula 1’s drivers chose to go ahead with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix because they were assured the venue is secure, but want wider talks over where the sport races.

A remarkable four-hour meeting on Friday night extended into the early hours of Saturday morning as the drivers formulated a united response to the concerns raised by a rebel attack on a nearby oil depot. Eventually they agreed to race, having appeared to be set to refuse to do so, and Carlos Sainz says it was natural it took so long to come to an agreement given the multiple scenarios and topics that were being considered.

“Obviously, we were considering all the possible scenarios, but in the end, as drivers, we all came together,” he said. “You need to think that it’s 20 of us with 20 opinions, 20 considerations, 20 different people talking so it’s always going to take a long time.

“And in the end, we all concluded that probably the best way to move forward is to listen to the authorities here, trust them and there’s not much more that we can do. But everything was clear at the end.

“I think it’s time to focus on the race. It’s time to focus enough on the Formula 1 race that we need to do in the next couple of days and there will be plenty to discuss in the future.

“I think there will need to be discussions after this race. Because clearly what has happened in the last 24 hours is definitely a point of discussion and considerations that we need to take going into the future.”

Valtteri Bottas adds that the commitment to have further discussions was a key part of that decision to continue racing.

“It’s definitely a challenging weekend, the track first of all and, obviously, (Friday) night went quite late and in most places you don’t need to have that discussion,” the Alfa Romeo driver said.

“It’s a unique grand prix and, at least, Formula 1 promised us to reconsider all the events for the future, including this one, to make sure that we go to the right places, where they can guarantee 100 per cent our safety when we go there.”

And Bottas also said there would still have been logistical issues if the race had been cancelled, giving less value to such a move from a safety point of view.

“We kind of made the decision all together, that was kind of made there, I’m fine with it. We drivers, we were all concerned if it’s safe for all of us to be here racing, we got decent explanation on things, and also we went through all the options like, ‘What if we don’t race?’ for example.

“Because the teams would still have to stayed here for a couple of days packing stuff, and it’s also not like we can create some new fights so that everyone can get home, so, we’re all already here, let’s finish the race.

“They’ve increased the security and their defense system, so everyone agreed we might as well do the race and hope for the best.”

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